Black Lives Matter
WE STAND IN SOLIDARITY WITH #BLACKLIVESMATTER
AND TO HONOR THE LIVES OF GEORGE FLOYD, AHMAUD ARBERY, BREONNA TAYLOR, RAYSHARD BROOKS
Front and Centered honors the lives of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and Rayshard Brooks, and we recognize that this very moment brings the intensified light on how racism is insidious and persists as an integral part of our systems – and the result today is literally suffocating the African American community.
We see this in George Floyd’s murder and countless black lives lost at the hands of police abuse and brutality, literally causing death by asphyxiation.
We see this in the form of the disproportionate impact of a respiratory sickness like the Coronavirus, experienced by African Americans at a higher rate in exposure and death, particularly given the inequities in health access and other socio-economic determinants.
“There is absolutely a connection between environmental and racial injustices…This is a movement and America needs to care about what it means to have communities and a sense of community. Blacks and poor people in general suffer more than anyone else with health conditions resulting from pollutants contaminating our air, soil, and water. They pay the price for ecological destruction from toxic trash dumps that release chemicals in the air and get into the soil and water. Most communities of color live near power plants, oil refineries and waste management facilities. Racism, and economic injustice are prevalent in the poor Black Community and that has led to the culture of police brutality. Black men and Black boys are stopped by police for being Black men and Black boys. A 9-year-old white younger can steal a bike. When caught they are most often taken home to their parents and lectured. A Black youngster the same age will most often be taken to jail and booked. A Black boy born in 2001 has a 1 in 3 chance of going to prison in his lifetime. Environmental injustice and police brutality are both in the Black Community. They are “Moral Issues” of violence.”
— Pastor Herbert Carey, Kent WA
Community Development & Outreach Service Ministries
The common thread is that racism and its deadly effects are endured at a higher rate by African American and Indigenous and POC communities because of where we live, the inequitable resources and opportunities of our people; and inequitable governance which has been marked by over policing of our communities.
In this moment, we must bear witness. Tragically, police abuse and brutality towards Black, Indigenous and people of color, have been cultivated and persist as the living legacy of institutionalized racism. There are too many studies which not only spotlight this disproportionate exercise of policing, arrests, and incarceration of Black boys and men. More often than not, fear of law enforcement and/or unfair access to genuine community safety measures are the hard and heartbreaking day-to-day realities of Black, Indigenous and communities of color; realities which are also marked by higher rates of pollution, negative impacts of climate change, and other environmental hazards which in turn reinforce the inequities.
In this moment, we must act by centering and listening to Black voices, supporting Black leadership, and honoring Black Lives.
“Some of the conversations we’ve been having in our community is that there’s already disparities in our communities – in health, criminal justice, environmental justice, economic opportunity, the pandemic and police brutality – we lead the markers in the number of cases and impacts. Knowing this, in this moment, makes us feel like our lives are not sacred. We have reached a tipping point on the total destruction of Black lives. It is critical to come together to resist what seems like historical trauma and pain which are delegitimizing our hearts, minds and voices. We cannot not stop until we achieve a society where Black lives matter – until we rid our institutions of the vestiges of slavery and clear the pollution of racism from the air we breathe every day.”
— Ophelia Noble, Executive Director
The Noble Foundation, Vancouver, WA
Front and Centered believes that anti-racist strategies are necessary to end police brutality and mass incarceration – we cannot punish our way toward a brighter future. Similarly, anti-racist strategies can help us turn away from status quo approaches that feed climate change and, instead, center the frontline communities who are most impacted to help achieve environmental justice. In this moment of life and death for our Black brothers and sisters, we are aligned with such anti-racist efforts to mobilize people, policies, and resources, and to bring all tools to bear. So that, one day we may realize a time that is more equitable and sustainable, with Black, Indigenous, and people of color front and centered.
Front and Centered is a coalition-based organization, comprised of a diversity of community groups, many run by Black and Indigenous and POC, who are working at the intersection of racial justice, equity, and environmental justice. We recognize that communities of color, people with lower incomes, and Black Indigenous people are on the frontlines of climate and environmental change. We are hit FIRST by extraction, pollution, and climate change, which makes existing health and economic disparities WORSE. Yet frontline communities are often LEFT OUT of or are the last to be included in the transition to a healthy, resilient and sustainable future.